Olympic anecdotes of South Korea
By Darren Lum
Published March 13, 2018
Ted Brandon travelled last month to South Korea to see the best in the world compete on the greatest athletic stage, the Olympics.
It was an experience the Haliburton resident won’t soon forget.
“I’m really glad I had the chance to attend, but like most sporting events, watching on TV is a superior way to understand what is going on. Attending live sports just gives you better context for watching future televised events,” he wrote in an email.
The highlight for Brandon was seeing the gold medal final between the women’s Canadian hockey team and the Americans. Although the end result was disappointing, he discovered the major difference between this game and an NHL game is the complexion of the crowd.
“The biggest difference was that the crowd was split 50/50 Canadian/American. So the cheering was interesting with each group trying to out cheer the other,” he said. “You probably noticed a lot of empty seats. The best seats were very expensive (we sat in the cheap seats at $160) at around $700 so the casual fan would not pay that to watch. It was obvious that two large sections had been held back by the organizing committee for athletes and dignitaries and those sections only half filled.”
Brandon said he made the trip because of his long-time friend Barry Devolin, a former MP for Haliburton–Kawartha Lakes–Brock. Devolin was in Korea for two weeks to not only see the Olympics, but also to attend Sejong University’s convocation ceremony. He recently completed a two-year tenure as professor there.
“He asked me if I wanted to join him on his two week return trip to Seoul and take in some of the Winter Olympics, which were happening in Pyeongchang, a 90 minute trip on the brand new KTX bullet train,” Brandon said.
Another highlight for Brandon was being able to spend some time at the Canada Olympic House.
“We were able to talk to other Canadian fans and be around the athletes, although I didn’t actually recognize any of them,” he wrote.
“Really enjoyed my time in Seoul, which seems like a very livable city with very modern and effective public transit. [MP] Jamie Schmale and his wife Julia Bryan Schmale also attended the Olympics with us,” he said.
Brandon saw women’s biathlon relay and men’s curling when the Canadians squared off against the Americans and also saw the Korean national curling team play.
“At the curling we attended, the host Koreans were playing and won the game so it was a lot of fun as the stands were full of Koreans cheering their team on. Most Korean spectators were new to the sport and seemed to be cheering the bad as loudly as the good. There were a lot of school kids in the crowd and they were fun to watch,” he wrote.